We know if you’re organised you would have sorted out your student accommodation in November / October, however, if you’re the 20% who haven’t yet sorted out your accommodation for September, then do not worry, there are still plenty of houses and apartments left. Here are our top tips if you’re still looking for student accommodation…
1. Find the accommodation that’s right for you
As a student, you have a number of different options. Narrowing this down to one will make your house hunting experience a lot quicker. Below are the different accommodation options available to you:
– University halls of residence – this is usually accommodation which is owned by your university. This accommodation is usually hugely popular and there tend to be more applicants than places so it’s important to get your application in early. However, it’s always worth asking even if you are only looking into accommodation now, as there are sometimes students who pull out leaving a room available.
– Private student accommodation – there are lots of options out there that are great alternatives to university halls of residence and are a similar style to university accommodation. Usually, you’ll have your own room, usually an en-suite bathroom and shared kitchen facilities. However, some providers offer more.
– Rented accommodation – If you aren’t able to secure halls of residence then you can look to rent a flat or house within your chosen city. You can choose to rent on your own or with friends. This is popular amongst second year and onwards students who move away from halls of residence, but the culture is largely down to the city. For instance, in Liverpool, a lot of second and third years choose to go back into halls of residence. You should find the right option for you.
– Homestays – A homestay is when you chose to stay with a UK family within their house. You’ll get your own room and sometimes your own bathroom depending on the family. This is particularly popular amongst international students as it gives you a chance to immerse yourself in the UK culture.
So now you’ve decided which accommodation option is right for you, check out our further tips which will help you on your accommodation journey.
2. Do thorough research into your accommodation facilities
It’s important to be aware of the facilities that are available to you within your accommodation facility, as well as ensuring you feel safe, happy and secure. If you’re going for a private student accommodation or halls of residence make sure to find out the answers to the below:
- The amount of time it takes to get to your campus?
- How many people you will be sharing a bathroom or kitchen with?
- Do you have access to a communal area?
- Is there internet access and is this included?
- What security does the accommodation have?
- Are all bills included? (it usually is but always worth checking for your budgeting)
3. What’s included in the price?
As we touched on previously it’s important to check whether further costs are included in the monthly rent. Utility bills such as, gas, electricity and water. Internet access, laundry services, bedding and kitchen equipment. This will help you to budget and work out if you can afford the accommodation.
4. Do some research into the location
Make sure your location isn’t too far away from your university. The last thing you want is an hour commute. However, it tends to work out that the further you are from the university, the cheaper accommodation is so work out what is right for you and your circumstances. It’s also important to do some research into the crime of the potential area you’ll be living in. The last thing you want is to feel unsafe in an area you’ll be tied into for the academic year.
5. Decide if you can be bothered to cook
A lot of universities and private halls will offer catered or self-catered rooms. With catered rooms, you often get breakfast, dinner, and sometimes even lunch 5 to 7 days a week. This is often served in a communal on-site canteen and can be a really great experience. Alternatively, self-catered will rely on you to prepare your own meals. So if you haven’t even perfected beans on toast yet – it may be worth considering catered accommodation. Be aware that this may cost more, though.
6. Read the reviews
Researching the location is step one, but don’t forget that there will likely be reviews from previous students up online. So whilst the university are telling you that the accommodation is perfect, and the location is great – the students may have another story to tell. Maybe the buses don’t run regularly, or the cleaners are a little lazy, or the heating is shoddy… It’s always worth finding out before it’s too late.
7. How many people are you likely to share with?
Some university accommodation will be smaller flats of 3 or 4 of you, and some will be as many as 12. How many people you’re living with can affect the kind of experience you will have in halls. If you’re an introvert, living with 12 people may be a bad idea. You want to feel comfortable in the place you live, and if your flatmates are all hanging out in the kitchen, you want to not worry about going to make a cuppa.
It is also worth considering that if you are a quiet person or someone who doesn’t like noise, that more people will equate to a noisier place to live. Likewise with mess and cleanliness.